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National Guard Uses 100-Foot Raft To Transport Flood Victims

October 14, 1986

PORTAGE DES SIOUX, Mo. (AP) _ The Missouri National Guard used a 100-foot aluminum raft Tuesday to transport people out of this small town, where some residents have been isolated since last week by floodwaters from two rivers.

″The raft operation is working now to get residents out,″ said Capt. Tom Bamvakais of the National Guard. Medical supplies and utility crews also were being brought into the community on the raft, he said.

Bamvakais said he did not know how many residents were still trapped in the town, which is located on a narrow peninsula in St. Charles County between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

On Monday, authorities flew in supplies to about 25 families in the county.

″We got this phone call last night that somebody had found this group of families that nobody knew anything about,″ said Maj. Jex Capener, a helicopter pilot for the state National Guard. ″They were running out there to greet us and were just as happy as could be to get the food.″

″We really didn’t need anything until last night, but we’re glad to get it,″ said Erik Adams, 41.

The Missouri at St. Charles, 15 miles west of St. Louis, was 29.2 feet Tuesday. That level exceeded the flood stage of 25 feet, but most of the city is protected by levees. A new crest of 32 feet is expected Thursday because of rain in Nebraska, the National Weather Service said.

The Missouri will be above flood stage at St. Charles for another 10 to 15 days, officials said.

The Mississippi dropped to 36.6 feet Tuesday at St. Louis, where flood stage is 30 feet.

Meanwhile, the more than two weeks of flooding in Missouri has claimed a second life. The body of Larry O. Cooper, 35, of Springfield, was found Monday in a deep pool of water where a highway washed away in Warren County, 35 miles west of St. Louis, the Highway Patrol said.

Cooper had driven past barricades and warning signs late Sunday on state Route 47 near the Missouri River at Marthasville, the highway patrol said.

He attempted to brake before the car plunged into 20 to 30 feet of water, said Sgt. Thomas G. LeFaivre. Cooper ″probably thought the water level was going down and didn’t realize the road was washed out,″ LeFaivre said.

Last week, a teen-age boy drowned in the Moreau River near Jefferson City.

The American Red Cross said Tuesday that it was providing shelter for 130 victims at six shelters. At the peak of flooding, 2,362 people were sheltered by the Red Cross, said spokeswoman Kim Peterson. To date, she said, the Red Cross has served nearly 38,000 meals to flood victims.

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